Study Guide

White Noise Sex

By Don DeLillo


Jack's a pretty sexual animal. So is Babette, and so is Jack's buddy Murray. Sex can mean several things in White Noise. It can be an intimate thing, a distraction, or even a safety blanket that makes characters feel better when things seem to be spinning out of control.

It can also make Jack homicidal with jealousy when he finds out that Babette has cheated on him. Essentially, sex in this book means a lot of the same things it's always meant. It's one of the few things that hasn'tchanged much in a modern culture that has transformed almost every aspect of human life. 

Questions About Sex

  1. Do you think Jack and Babette have a healthy sexual relationship? Why or why not?
  2. Why does Babette have such a problem with the language of "entering" (7.35)? What point does DeLillo make by including her opinion on this subject?
  3. What does Jack seem to get out of sex? What emotional need does it fill for him? Use examples from the text to support your answer.
  4. How is Murray's approach to sex unique in this book? Why would he pay a prostitute $25 to let him perform the Heimlich maneuver on her? What does it suggest about his relationship to sex?

Chew on This

For Don DeLillo, sex is no longer meaningful in a modern world where people are willing to trade their bodies for pills or money.

In <em>White Noise</em>, sex is one of the only things that still keeps its traditional associations (jealousy, intimacy, power, ego, etc). This is because unlike other aspect of human life, sex isn't affected by our exposure to media. 

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